There are few things I love more than a good pie. Not just a slice on a plate mind you, but pie in all it’s glorious forms. Pot pie, pocket pie, baked pie, fried pie, sweet pie, savory pie, fruit pie, cream pie – I think you get my meaning. I am in LOVE with pie.
The pies in this month’s segment run the gamut from a savory beef pot pie, to fried cherry pies, to a classic apple pie with a twist. Filling in the gaps are flaky homemade pop tarts unlike anything you ever got out of a box, and the most delicious mini key lime pies in mason jars – the layer of chocolate ganache on the top makes this hands down one of my favorite desserts ever! I hope you try them all, but if you make only one pie from this collection, the key lime is it. Enjoy!
PS: Sorry about the wonky pictures, as per usual Blogger is broken and refuses to orient them correctly. They’re all right side up on my facebook page, www.facebook.com/neighorhoodfoodie!
Neighborhood Foodie Steak, Mushroom & Brie Pot Pies
Adapted from The Yummy Life
1-2 boxes (17.3 oz.) frozen puff pastry
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 lb. beef–stew meat, chuck roast, or sirloin, cut into 3/4″ cubes
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups very roughly chopped mushrooms
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary (1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary)
1 cup dry red wine
2 1/2 cups low sodium beef broth
2 cups fresh or frozen pearl onions, thawed if frozen
8 oz brie cheese, plain or herbed
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
1 egg + 1 tablespoon water
CUT PASTRY TOPS: Use 12-16 oz. oven proof bowls. Turn one upside down on thawed pastry sheet and cut around it with a small knife. Repeat for number of crusts you need. Cut small cookie cutter shapes out of leftover dough, if desired. Cover cut pastry rounds with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
MAKE THE STEW: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in Dutch oven over med-high heat. Pat meat dry, sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper, add half to pan. Cook, stir occasionally, until browned and liquid gone. Remove to plate and repeat with remaining meat. Remove to plate. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan, add mushrooms; cook until liquid is gone. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, thyme, and rosemary; cook for approx 30 seconds. Stir in dry wine, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the broth, and browned meat. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook until potatoes are cooked and beef is tender, approx. 30-40 min. Add onions. Slice rind from brie, and cut into cubes. Stir into stew until completely melted; approx. 3 minutes. Continue to simmer over low heat until it reaches desired thickness, stirring often to prevent cheese from scorching. Remove from heat; stir in parsley. Season with salt to taste.
ASSEMBLE THE POT PIES: Ladle stew into ovenproof bowls, place puff pastry round on top. Gently stretch and press pastry edges over lip of bowl. Make egg wash by whisking egg with 1 tablespoon water, brush on pastry tops. Add pastry cookie cutter shapes on top of pastry rounds (if using) and brush those with egg wash. Place bowls on foil lined baking sheet for easy clean up and easy of handling.
BAKING INSTRUCTIONS: Bake at 400 until crusts are golden and filling is bubbly.
–To bake right away, bake for 25-35 minutes.
–To bake if refrigerated, bake 40-50 minutes.
–To bake if frozen, bake 1 to 1-1/4 hours.
If crust browns before filling is bubbly, place a loose piece of foil across the top to prevent over browning. Let pies rest 15-20 minutes before serving to allow filling to cool and thicken.
MAKE AHEAD TIPS: Cook the stew, let it cool to room temperature, pour into baking bowls, cover and refrigerate or freeze. Cut pastry sheets into rounds and cookie-cutter shapes, stack between layers of plastic wrap; cover and refrigerate. OR, go ahead and top each cooled bowl of stew with the top crust ahead of time, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze. (Don’t brush with egg wash until right before baking.)
MAKE ONE GIANT PIE INSTEAD OF INDIVIDUAL PIES: Pour the entire beef stew mixture into a 9×13 baking dish. You only need one box of puff pastry–slightly overlap the edges of two side-by-side pastry sheets and press the seam with your fingers to seal them together. Place the pastry sheet on top of the baking dish, trim the edges, brush with egg wash, add decorate cookie-cutter pastry shapes and brush them with egg wash, and bake as described above.
Home Made Pop Tarts
From Smitten Kitchen
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk
1 additional large egg (to brush on pastry)
3/4 cup (8 ounces) jam (I used a chocolate cherry preserve I made over the summer)
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water
To make jam filling: Mix the jam with the cornstarch/water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. Use to fill the pastry tarts.
Make the dough: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers, pastry blender or food processor until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. If you’ve used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Whisk the first egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.
Divide the dough in half (approximately 8 1/4 ounces each), shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3×5 inches. You can roll this out immediately (see Warm Kitchen note below) or wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Assemble the tarts: If the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9″ x 12″. [You can use a 9" x 13" pan, laid on top, as guidance.] Repeat with the second piece of dough. Set trimmings aside. Cut each piece of dough into thirds – you’ll form nine 3″ x 4″ rectangles.
Beat the additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough. This will be the “inside” of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it. Place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining tarts.
Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.
Bake the tarts: Remove the tarts form the fridge, and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Cool in pan on rack.
Deep Fried Cherry Pocket Pies
Adapted from Ezra Poundcake
Makes 6 individual pies
Cherry Filling: (note – I used sweet cherry pie filling that I canned over the summer)
1/2 cup fresh cherries
1/8 cup cherry preserves
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup ice water
Oil, for deep-frying
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cherry Filling: In a small bow, combine the cherries with the preserves.
To Make the Dough: In a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the ice water while the processor is running, until the dough forms a ball.
Divide the dough in half. Sprinkle a thin layer of flour on a flat board or surface. Roll out each portion of dough to 1/16th thickness, a little thicker than a tortilla. Cut the dough into 5-inch circles; each ball should make three rounds.
Put 1 tablespoon of 1 filling in the center of each dough round. Fold the dough rounds in half; wet your fingers and press to seal the edges with water. Crimp the edges with the tines of a fork.
To Fry the Pies: Pour about 3 inches of oil into a deep-frying pan or Dutch oven, and set it over medium-high heat. The oil is hot enough when a scrap of dough dropped in the pan sizzles and bubbles, about 350 degrees F. (The temperature of the oil will fluctuate during the frying process, so you might want to use a thermometer.) Fry the pies, a few at a time, until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain the pies on plates lined with paper towels.
For the Glaze: Whisk the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Using a pastry brush, glaze the warm pies. Serve immediately.
Baking Option: If you’d rather bake the pies, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush the top of each pie with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water), and bake them on a parchment-lined baking sheet for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Brown Butter and Cheddar Apple Pie
3 pounds apples, preferably a combo of Cortland and Honey Crisp, peeled and roughly chopped
1/3 cup granulated sugar .
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar .
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
2 1/2 cups AP flour .
3 tablespoons semolina flour (I skipped this, with no negative results)
1 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup grated sharp yellow cheddar
small glass ice water
1 egg, beaten for egg wash
Toss apples and sugars together in large bowl. Set aside for an hour to allow apples to break down.
Sift flours and salt together by hand or in bowl of food processor.
Add butter, along with cheese, to flour mixture. Pulse food processor (or cut into flour quickly by hand) just until fat and flours turn into a pebbly mixture.
Remove blade from processor and sprinkle about 6 tablespoons of ice water on pebbly mixture. Using your hands, gently combine until the dough starts to hold together. Add more water as needed.
Cut dough in half and form into disks, one a bit bigger than the other. Wrap with wax paper and chill for about 30 minutes.
Roll out larger disk of dough on floured surface. Gently fit into pie dish, crimping the edges. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 400.
Poke dough in pie dish with fork to ventilate. Line with parchment or foil and add pie weights (or beans and/or rice). Bake for 10 minutes. Remove parchment and pie weights and bake for another 5-10 minutes until pie shell starts to look dry-ish on the bottom. Cool.
Meanwhile, onto the filling: Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over med-high heat. Swirl until the foam subsides and the butter turns a nut brown color. Watch closely – this can burn quickly. Toss with apples.
Dissolve the cornstarch in the 2 tablespoons of water and toss into apple mixture.
Roll out second disk of dough on floured surface to fit the top of your pie.
Fill par-baked pie shell with apple mixture. Gently fit top over the filling, crimping the edges. With a sharp knife, cut slits or poke with fork to vent.
Beat egg with one tablespoon of water. Brush egg wash on top of pie.
Bake at 350 for about 50-60 minutes, until filling is bubbly.
N. F. Mini Key Lime Pies with Graham Cracker Crust & Chocolate Ganache
1 package of 9 graham crackers, smashed into fine crumbs
6 TB melted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 ts cinnamon
4 egg yolks
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup key lime juice, preferably fresh squeezed
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat over to 350.
Either pulse graham crackers in a food processor or smash with a rolling pin in a sealed zip lock back until fine crumbs are formed.
Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter, stirring until completely incorporated.
Press a couple tablespoons of crust mixture into the bottoms and slightly up the sides of 5 1/2 pint canning jars. Reserve a small amount of crumbs for garnishing finished pies.
Place jars on a baking sheet and bake crusts for about 15 minutes, until they smell faintly nutty.
While crusts are baking, separate four egg yolks into a medium bowl, and using a handheld electric mixer or stand mixer, combine with 2 cans sweetened condensed milk.
Add lime juice and carefully mix until thoroughly combined.
Remove jars from oven and pour filling into each jar, leaving about 3/4″ head space.
Return to oven and bake 20-25 minutes, until centers are just set.
While pies bake, heat 1 cup heavy cream in a small pot until simmering. Do not boil!
Turn off heat, add 1 cup of chocolate chips, and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir melted chocolate and cream together until smooth and shiny.
Remove pies from the oven, let cool slightly, and pour melted ganache over the top of each. Chill for at least four hours in the fridge, up to overnight. Right before serving, sprinkle with reserved graham cracker crust crumbs.